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Frosted drinking glass with a painted image of Fagin

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.76

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    Frosted drinking glass with a painted image of Fagin

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    Brief Narrative
    Frosted glass cup with a painted scene of Oliver’s first encounter with Fagin, from Charles Dickens’ novel, “Oliver Twist.” The cup is part of a set painted with scenes from the works of Charles Dickens. The set is commonly associated with 20th-century glass manufacturers, Federal Glass and Hazel-Atlas Glass Company. Fagin is portrayed with a beard, a large nose, and thick eyebrows; all stereotypical physical features attributed to Jewish men. In “Oliver Twist,” Fagin is the villainous leader of a gang of children whom he has instructed in the ways of criminality. He attempts to corrupt the protagonist, Oliver, in the same manner. In the novel, Fagin is described in his first scene as hunched over a fire holding a toasting fork, imagery that reinforces the antisemitic stereotype of Jewish associations with the devil, due to its resemblance of a pitchfork. He is repeatedly referred to as “the Jew” in the book and also emphasized as a greedy, miserly, and cowardly character; all traits aligning with common antisemitic stereotypes. However, in a later edition of the novel, Dickens reduced his use of “the Jew,” substituting it for pronouns or other phrases. Even in this later version, Fagin is still repeatedly and negatively referred to as “the Jew,” and remains emblematic of multiple antisemitic canards. Later writings by Dickens portrayed Jews in a more positive light, however, the reprehensible Fagin is his most remembered Jewish character. This glass is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    manufacture:  approximately 1900-approximately 1980
    manufacture: United States
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    exterior, front, bottom, painted, brown paint : Fagin
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    The Katz Ehrenthal Collection is a collection of more than 900 objects depicting Jews and antisemitic and anti-Jewish propaganda from the medieval to the modern era, in Europe, Russia, and the United States. The collection was amassed by Peter Ehrenthal, a Romanian Holocaust survivor, to document the pervasive history of anti-Jewish hatred in Western art, politics and popular culture. It includes crude folk art as well as pieces created by Europe's finest craftsmen, prints and periodical illustrations, posters, paintings, decorative art, and toys and everyday household items decorated with depictions of stereotypical Jewish figures.

    Physical Details

    Household Utensils
    Drinking vessels
    Object Type
    Drinking cups (lcsh)
    Drinking vessels.
    Physical Description
    Cylindrical, frosted glass cup with an open top, rounded rim, flat base, and a painted, interior scene on the surface. In the image, Fagin, holding a frying pan and a toasting fork, is standing in front of a small fire and smoke clouds inside a fireplace. He wears a long, red coat with a green hat and has a gray beard, a large, hooked nose, and thick eyebrows. Behind him is a small wooden table with a candle stuck inside a bottle centered on top. A small, crooked, green picture hangs on the wall above the table. Thin brown lines denote the floor and wall beneath and behind him. Small colored sections accentuate the various elements in the room. Fagin’s name is painted in script just below the fireplace. The frosted surface has worn away in small sections, especially along the lower edge.
    overall: Height: 5.250 inches (13.335 cm) | Diameter: 2.750 inches (6.985 cm)
    overall : glass, paint

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    United States.

    Administrative Notes

    The drinking glass was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016 by the Katz Family.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Special Collection
    Katz Ehrenthal Collection
    Record last modified:
    2023-05-24 16:26:33
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